Eagles unlikely to hire Steve Spagnuolo

Posted: January 27, 2013

Since Steve Spagnuolo was fired Thursday by the Saints, the prospect of the Eagles hiring the former Eagles linebackers coach, Giants defensive coordinator, Rams head coach, and Saints defensive coordinator has become a hot topic.

Of course, the Eagles defensive coordinator job might not be as available as it appears if the job is simply waiting on ice for 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell to play the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, or on another name that has not yet surfaced.

But any potential marriage between Spagnuolo and the Eagles might also be complicated by the Eagles' potential defensive scheme. There have been hints that the Eagles will switch to a 3-4 under new coach Chip Kelly.

Yes, Donatell ran a 4-3 at his stops as a defensive coordinator, but he coaches in San Francisco now, where they run a 3-4.

Spagnuolo's career has been marked by an attacking 4-3 defense similar to the one the late Jim Johnson used when he was the defensive coordinator for the Eagles. In fact, one of the reasons the Saints made the change was because they want to run a 3-4. It also didn't help that the Saints gave up more yards than any team in history under Spagnuolo last season.

But, for argument's sake, let's examine Spagnuolo. On the downside, there are some who see what happened defensively in New Orleans last season and don't want anything to do with Spagnuolo.

On the upside, he did win a Super Bowl in his first season as defensive coordinator with the Giants. He's well-thought of around the NFL, especially in the NFC East. The Eagles know him. He knows Philadelphia, and he also has head-coaching experience, which could be a benefit on this staff.

Spagnuolo also has a connection to Kelly. They both have New England roots - as do many members of Kelly's prospective staff - and coached in the same college conference in the early 1990s.

Because Spagnuolo became available only on Thursday, his possible candidacy is a recent development. Perhaps there's a different spot on the staff for him - assistant head coach or something of that nature. Or maybe Spagnuolo can find a coordinator job elsewhere.

But if the Eagles go to a 3-4, don't expect Spagnuolo to be their coordinator.

Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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